Letter to the Editor

I got a letter to the editor published in the St. Paul Pioneer Press today. The letter criticizes the design of an info graphic that appeared in the Pioneer Press on Feb. 8:

Here's the letter, as published:

Your numbers are misleading
I was disappointed with the Feb. 8 Pioneer Press front-page graphic about President Bush's budget. It gave readers a false impression of the relative impact of Bush's proposals on the budget as a whole.
First, the graphic depicted a one-dimensional number (the percentage increase or decrease) as a two-dimensional arrow, with larger percentages represented by longer and wider arrows. This gives a mistaken impression of the relative difference between the numbers.
Second, presenting the budget numbers as percentages without showing the size of each program creates a false equivalency. In dollar terms, an 11.5 percent cut in Housing and Urban Development ($2.8 billion) is small compared to a 4.5 percent increase in military spending ($17.6 billion). Showing such a large representation of a relatively small cut gives the false impression that Bush's budget will make a real difference in reducing the size of the federal deficit, which it will not.